Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's Been More than a Month!

You would think I haven't done anything to write about.  That's actually not true, however it's boring to talk about hand quilting, looking everywhere for the color of fabric you have in your head, but that they don't seem to make, and weaving and unweaving the same basket three times over two weeks.  Here are some things that I have done.
I have wanted to make a broken star of strings for some time, but all those diamonds were a little intimidating and I always was doing something else so I could justifiably procrastinate…until I was looking at the carpenter's star from the last post and had an epiphany…the carpenter's star, done larger and with strings, is the same pattern as a broken star!  Here it is, 60" across, needs a border, but is almost a completed flimsy.  I really like it except that I did it using a printer paper foundation and really hate removing all that paper.  I took it to Quilters Night Out last Tuesday and thanks to Helen and Val, most of the paper is gone.  Yeah!                   This is the Red Flower quilt with a different yellow/gold.  I have tried 4 different yellows and/or golds now, appliqueing down leaves and then ripping them out, but none of the colors were perfect.  I think I like this one.  The last photo is a basket that I wove last week.  It has my quilting threads across the top spoke and holds my scissors and a few pins.  It sits on the table beside my chair.  Thanks to the folks at the "Celebrate Hand Quilting" facebook page for the idea.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Carpenter's Star

This is a Carpenter's Star quilt block done with 4.5" half square triangles, making it 32x32 with a 2" border.  It is an easy block to put together, but for me, who likes to chain piece, it was tedious because only 2 sets of blocks can go together at a time, or I would lose my place in the color scheme.  It's not my usual colors, but I am doing the Jingle Belle blocks, a couple of which are in the photo, and I may use this block for the center of those pieced and appliqued blocks.  I  learned how to make this block with the local Quilter's Night Out group last Tuesday.  It is fun to get together and try new blocks and layouts that you wouldn't normally think of by yourself.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Basket Weekend

 This is a basket that I started on Thursday night.  It has a solid wood base and 4 ball feet.  It will be large and although is quite the tangle right now, should be pretty cool when finished.  
This basket is double-walled, meaning that it is very sturdy, since one basket is on the inside and another on the outside.  This was one of the baskets taught by a teacher that we had come in for our basket guild meeting on Sat.  I love the cat-head design and twilled sidewalls on the outside of the basket.  Another feature of this basket is that the twill is going from left to right on two sides of the basket and right to left on the opposite sides.  The only real issue I had was how to lash with different spokes on the inside and outside.  For the most part, I decided to go with every other outside spoke and I think it looks ok.  I really enjoyed making her baskets and wish now that I had purchased her other double walled basket patterns.

Tonight I worked for a bit on the large basket, weaving 12 rows of smoked reed up the sides of the basket.  The main part of the basket will have a pattern.  I will start that on Thursday this week at basket class.  I also made a small basket this evening for a gift, so no photos of that one.  
I picked up my quilts at the Durand show last evening.  I didn't get photos since I got there late and forgot my camera.  The show was ok, though not fabulous, as several of the quilts I had already seen at other local shows.  But it was fun to see my quilts hanging in the show.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sweet Miss Ella

I am so glad she is enjoying Benjamin Bunny.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Durand Quilt Show

Photos will be here tomorrow.  I put the Bonnie Hunter Easy Street, the be thankful, and the P3 designs Tropical flowers in the Durand Quilt Show this year.  I dropped them off yesterday (with strangers, it was really odd) and will go see the show tomorrow.  I also went back to basketweaving on Thursday evenings and started an intricate basket as a gift this week.  I also purchased a handle for a little sewing basket that I'd like to make and bought a small cross-stitch pattern at lunch today.  In the meantime, I found the yellow fabric that I wanted for the Red Flowers quilt and also just found out that the original is 73x73, just about the same as mine.  I need more hours in a day. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Red Flowers and Green Leaves

Hmmm. I liked it more on the design wall than here.  I was going to do red and yellow leaves like the original, but after appliqueing a  couple green leaves, I thought I liked just the green.  Most of these are just stuck there, so I will applique every other green and audition more yellows.  Design decisions... as I go along.   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Planetarium Quilt Show

These two quilts are going to the local planetarium tomorrow so that they can be shown during the Flint Festival of Quilts next weekend.  It's the planetarium so the quilts had to have a star somewhere in them to qualify for that venue.  The red, white and blue lonestar hasn't been shown before, but the photo of Starlight, Starbright was taken at the 2011 guild show in Flushing.  They are certainly different styles of quilts, and I anticipate that folks will like one or the other rather than both of them.  I hope to be able to hang around and listen surreptitiously...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

be thankful

be thankful is complete.  Long arm quilted, bound, washed, and dried.  Here lying on the family room rug.  I have to find a wall big enough, it's about 50"x76", but it turned out just the way I envisioned.  Started in February 2013, finished yesterday.   

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Red Flowers

This is a photo of the antique Red Flowers from a F&P magazine in 2005.  Below is my rendition of this quilt.  As you can see, I have changed the orange leaves from the last post back to yellow and still haven't made up my mind which I like the best.  I had also simplified the leaves for ease of applique, but am kind of rethinking that decision too.  I did look closely at the photo to determine the original quilting design and it appears to be a big sweeping clamshell pattern.  I don't know the dimensions of the original and can't find it on google images, so my squared up blocks at 27" unfinished seem too big, or the leaves too small, or something.  I think I'll have to do more trimming to get that "bit of crowded" look that appealed to me.  I do like the idea of the big sweeping clamshells, specifically because I still struggle with marking and I will not have to mark to do that pattern.  I'll just get it started with a big arc and go from there.  You can also see that I have to remove a couple green (misplaced) leaves.  Three more flowers to go.  I should be able to finish this week, Don and Em are here so I've cleaned up the florida room and dismantled the sewing center so we have room to eat at the table.  Hand work goes faster when using my machine isn't happening.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Finishing Up

Well, in fact,
I had just barely started.  I made one of these blocks in June 2012 and ran out of the red fabric.  I looked for several months, but never found anymore of it.  The other day, I was looking in the stash boxes and saw a really vibrant red and wondered if it was close...I knew it wasn't the same fabric, the original was a Moda, and the new one a Danish fabric called STOL, but when I compared them, I can't see any difference.  So I had enough of the new red for 5 more and pieced the last three flowers. I appliqued these 2 new flowers yesterday and today so I am now well on my way to a 9 block appliqued flower quilt. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Something for Everyone

Out of focus...  but these are the Jo Morton little quilts.  Most of these are from this year's patterns, but a couple from last year's too.  The white stuff behind some of them is batting of course.  Those are the one in the midst of being hand quilted.  Some of the others are hand quilted and a few are machine quilted.  Some are quilted and bound, but most have more work to do.   I like the scrappy, brighter ones, but the ones that are browns and golds or blues, not so much... Those are a bit matched for me...  I definitely like the bright colors with strong contrast better...which leads to the one that I finished this morning.
This one is a 6 sided string star quilt.  It has light blue sashing and orange corner stones.  The good news about being out of focus is that you can't see where my edges don't quite match.  This one is big enough at 76x86 so I can practice with the long arm.  I'm going to bind in the light blue.  The next string star will be an eight sided lone star.  I actually  thought I was doing it this time until I realized that I was sewing on 60 degree foundation diamonds instead of 45 degree diamonds.   Duh.
 And finally, I finished the applique last week on the "be thankful".  I really like this one, and although I sometimes wish that it was in brighter yellows, greens, and blues, these colors will go better in my house.   It is a large wallhanging, but will be a good addition to the Sept/Oct decor.  It will be quilted with an oak leaf and acorn design and bound in blue.  BTW...this is the camera instead of the phone camera...amazing difference in the photos.  Guess I won't lose this camera.

So I am all over the place, looking for a style that's my own, and finding that I like something from most every style...  I'm still working on the appliqued red and green Jingle Belles, picked up a new Jo Morton pattern this morning, am appliqueing on the CWB's quilt, and, of all things, bought a package of hexie patterns and a gluestick yesterday at the AQS show.  So, I'm still in search of a style....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Quilt of my Own Design (More or Less)

I wanted a modern, clean looking king sized quilt with a sunflower theme, so I spent a couple hours on the web looking at museum and google images of sunflower quilts.  I found an asymmetrically designed wallhanging with new york beauty pieces along 2 edges and a sunflower design in the middle.  I used that design for inspiration and in the stash of books and patterns, found a paper pieced new york beauty unit with a large center.  Using lots of scrappy yellow/gold/orange fabrics, I paper pieced the units, hand appliqued them on my background, and used narrow green borders.  In the center, I also hand appliqued the stems and angular leaves.   I wanted angular because I intended to use a smallish rounded flower pantograph for the long arm quilting.  You can see the pattern in the last picture.  I had a bit too much negative space in the center medallion above the sunflowers and when I went looking for a binding fabric because I had run out of the green, I found this gold batik with a butterfly pattern and they were, amazingly, the proper scale, so instead of having to create butterflies, I was able to cut and applique them directly onto my background.  I hope my niece likes it.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jingle Belles

This is a free BOM offered by Erin Russek at One Piece at a Time blog.  Since I took this photo, I have completed one more pieced block.  I am still working on a secret quilt with some appliqué, so I am behind on these appliqué patterns.  I should have the other one done in a week, so I will have more time to work on this.  In fact, I am going on vacation in a couple weeks and am prepping lots of appliqué to take with me.  I love the idea of being able to sit on a deck overlooking a lovely lake and leisurely sew.  Pure luxury!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ella Jane

 This is our new granddaughter, Ella.  I think she is gorgeous!  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Month of May and a new grand baby!

The month of May has been BUSY!  I have a new granddaughter, the first one, we are so excited...  born yesterday, on her mom's birthday.  She is still in the hospital for a few days getting a little oxygen, but it seems that all will be ok given a few days...  I'll have pics and a name soon... more to come.  Congrats to Kate and Tim!

Chrissy graduated from college and needs a civil engineering job... we are hopeful that something will turn up soon.  She is finishing up the research job up north and will be home in a few days.  Harold and I, EB, and Terri and Patrick were there to celebrate with her....  Don and Kate were there in spirit.  She is the one on the right, on the left is her room mate, Merete.  Congrats to Chrissy and Merete!

Merete got her quilty gift, a thoroughly modern quilt, made of white strips and squares, like the next photo, but with turquoise squares.  But as usual, I gave it away without the photo.  Harold quilted it with a daisy pantograph, so it is a great summer quilt...light, crisp, and cool to look at.   Compared with this one, Merete's was easy.  This one had to be washed 9 times with oxiclean and color catchers to wash out the dye from the navy batik squares.  It ran and ran and ran, but I finally used the hottest water I could get, another 6 color catchers and a cup of oxiclean and it came out white!  I was sure that I was going to have to make another quilt!

Don's friend, Emily, graduated with her Masters from MSU this month.  She also got a quilty gift.  She was in the Peace Corps in Africa and had brought me home many yards of lovely African fabrics.  I found a Ghanian batik of women working and dancing around a tree and used it for the center medallion.  The rest of it is strips of African fabric and the hourglass units made with her fabrics and a light commercial batik.  I think it turned out well and she loves it.  Congratulations to Emily!  But I also gave it to her before I got a photo...ugh.  Chrissy hasn't received a quilt yet, because I had too many others to give as gifts.  Hers will get done after the summer wedding quilt is finished...

Though her graduation is technically in June, Dr. Kate, the new mom, will graduate from her residency program next week and be a graduate medical doctor.  She is exhausted this morning, but I'm sure will be like new in time to celebrate her achievements next Saturday.  She will start work in September after taking the summer to be with her new babe...  our new babe, though I'm not sure that we mentioned that she is expected to share...LOL.

My London Visit!

I know this entry is late, but May is always way too busy...  This is Primrose Hill in London, and though I did walk the hill, this is obviously not from my April visit.  This is Chris, Emily, and Don in December, when my daughter Chris and Don's friend Emily visited Don.  I went for a two week visit in April, had a fabulous time, took 2000 pictures, and promptly lost my camera on the day before I left.  Ugh.  However this morning, I was downloading Chris's graduation photos and found her London photos, so I have this one to show...  I had a wonderful time.  Don was a great host.

Don's living arrangements are great.  He is staying in a house where the landlady lives on the first floor and she has rented rooms out on the other floors.  Christine, the house owner, and the other tenants are very pleasant and the house has a lovely English garden behind the house with brick walls and a small greenhouse.  The house is near the tube and bus stations, so it was easy to come and go.  I stayed in the guest room on the first floor.  It was absolutely wonderful to have a welcoming space to come back to in the evening, with hot coffee, a bottle of wine to share, and a warm bed.  Christine and the housemates often eat together and share food.  They are a very multicultural, multilingual family, and it is too all their credit that it works well.  It was lovely of Christine to welcome me into her home.

I went to all the museums I had planned and a couple that I didn't know about.  The V&A was fabulous of course and has the best museum gift shop ever, the British Museum was everything I had anticipated, the Tate Modern (thank you for the suggestion Aga) was great, the Fashion Museum had a Kaffe Fassett exhibit which was wonderful, the National Gallery was lovely (though I don't think there is an altarpiece left anywhere in Europe) and the National Observatory with the Greenwich Mean Line was interesting.  I had two favorites.  One was the British Museum of Natural History, not so much for the exhibits, though they did have a nice collection of British rocks, but for the building design.  Every stair, every column, and every wall and floor space, inside and outside, had plants and animals carved into the building stone or mosaiced into the floor and walls.  It was a magical space, designed for the hordes of children running through the place (and for the most part ignoring everything except the gift shop), but tremendously appreciated by adults enthralled with natural history.  The other was the Enlightenment Gallery, built in the former King's Library, in the British Museum.  The whole museum is overwhelming of course, but the Enlightenment Gallery is on a personal level.  Housed in absolutely fabulous bookcases, it is the cumulative collection of stuff that British explorers, think Captain Cook, brought home in the days when it was encouraged for world travelers to have natural history collections.  There are dried plants and animals, oddities like mummified fingers, amazing shells and minerals, statuary, books and manuscripts, religious artifacts, and cultural stuff from everywhere (some of it even fake).  It was amazing.  Gram would have loved it.

We attended several evening concerts in churches; St. Annes, St. James, and St. Martin in the Field, and the music was lovely.  I loved how every church also had a lunch time concert and a cafe, with reasonably priced soups and sandwiches, and the obligatory tea, of course.  I was less enthralled to find in many churches, they had used old, really old, gravestones as the flooring in the basement cafes.  There is something not quite right in walking on gravestones.  The marble certainly worked as flooring, but I was sorry that the lettering (and the history) were being eroded by tourist shoes...  All the churches that I was in during the day had homeless people sleeping in the pews.  Though it is good to have a warm, quiet, and safe place to sleep, it reminds you that London, after all, is a large city with the big city problems found everywhere.  One of my favorite days was the last Sunday when Don and I went to the Catholic mass at the Westminster Cathedral.  The choir was lovely, the message was timely, and the beautiful old arched brick ceiling was totally stained with incense smoke which was liberally used during the service.  I have never been so well blessed with smoke and water as there.  It was a beautiful service.  Again, we thought of Gram, she would have loved the intersection of culture, religion, politics, and history found in these churches.  

We walked through many of the public gardens and though it was early spring, the gardens were clearly going to be spectacular, the edging was perfect, the pruning lines on the trees were perfect, and the urns were waiting to be filled.  The camellias, cherry trees, magnolias, frittilleria, and primroses were blooming everywhere.  My favorite, without Don unfortunately, was Kew Gardens.  It is a big place, put together by a forward seeing royal a couple centuries ago, and has trees, shrubs, and flowers from all over the world.  It also has the one of the largest, oldest, and rather dilapidated glassed in conservatories in the world, and has several smaller ones as well.  Like many gardens, they appear to have a corps of die hard, very knowledgable volunteers.  I followed a couple tours and they were very well done.  I also contributed a small amount to the restoration efforts.  The camellias, cherries, and magnolias were gorgeous.  It also had a wonderful bookstore and I found my book on espaliering and coppicing.  Don has to go before he leaves London.  It was a lovely day.

The city center was a blast.  I spent many mornings sitting outside at Cafe Verona drinking my latte, watching people and counting different languages.  The architecture and statuary were amazing, Big Ben was loud, Chinatown's ducks hanging in the windows were fun, and I loved the double decker buses.  London has wonderful bookstores, Hatchards was my favorite and I spent a lovely afternoon there.  Waterstones was huge and both bookstores carried many small publishers, something that I can't find in the US anymore.  I love small publishers since I read natural history and other non-fiction.  I did purchase a few books, one that I am reading now, called "Survivors" by Richard Fortey, a retired paleontologist at the Natural History Museum.  It is a great read.  I found several fabric and costuming shops in Soho, including a silk remnant sale...enough said.  I also found the Royal Geological Society downtown and went in to see the William Smith geological map of the British Isles, one of the very first stratigraphic maps.  The book, "The Map that Changed the World", was based on this map.  After reading the book, I had to see the map.
Don and I also did several of the markets on Saturdays and Sundays.  The Borough market had wonderful breads and cheeses (we tasted everything), teas and fabulous coffee.  It would have been Harold's favorite place in London (well that and the food sections of Harrods and M&S's).  Portobello Road had anything one could possibly want (including a couple scarves that called my name) and the Columbia Road flower market had little topiaried olive trees that I particularly coveted, but didn't think I could get through customs, though maybe in hindsight, I might have.  I did purchase a few souvenirs, though not much, because as it turns out, Americans are totally spoiled about what is available for a pretty good price compared to other places, and I didn't actually see much that I couldn't get here (except those olives of course).  We found a little shop on Columbia Road called Stoned and Plastered (I know, great name) which carried all kinds of unbaked statuary, including wonderful green men with wide open mouths.  I carried one of them home and though he had to be glued upon arrival, he will look cool on the deck.  I also found an open front box divided into little boxes that I loved and holds my collection of stones and trinkets that I brought home.  Don and I ate dinner at several nice restaurants, but my real find was fresh egg salad sandwiches at every museum, garden, and church cafe.  I ate them every day for lunch after my morning croissant and latte.

I missed some things.  I didn't visit Highgate Cemetery, or do the tour of Parliment, and I didn't get to the Clock Museum or the London Museum.  I didn't go to Billingsgate and I didn't see the textiles at the V&A, since they are building a new building for them and they are in storage.  I also didn't get outside London proper, so I didn't get to Bath, or the Roman ruins, or the reed basket areas in Somerset, or Wales and see Welsh quilting, or Stonehenge, or Isle of Wight, or the ammonite beds on the coast, so maybe I will have to go back someday.   However, all together, it was a lovely way to spend two weeks...  Thanks, Don.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Off to London!

I am off to London tomorrow to visit Don.  I have 2 pages of names and addresses of places I want to see (museums, shops, and gardens), hear (tickets for concerts at Westminster Abbey and St Martin in the Field), eat (everything), touch (fabric and roman ruins) and smell (the fish and flower markets).  It will be a fun 2 weeks. I'll post pictures.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quilting on Several Fronts

I have been making the mini quilts and handquilting them.  I have the 2 from the last post completely done and handed off for the guild quilt show in April.  There is one with most of the quilting complete and two that have been pieced, but need quilting.  I have made 2 more baby quilts and long arm quilted them.  I have finished most of the appliqué on the "be thankful" quilt and finished the binding on the Bonnie Hunter Easy Street in time for it to go into the guild quilt show.  I have started another queen sized quilt in a modern style for a gift.  Pictures are coming soon and I am quilting with a vengeance.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Still Hand Quilting/Hand Appliqueing

Slow, slow, slow.  Nothing much to show for it, but it is getting done.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Miniature and much more precision than I thought was possible

These are at least miniature for me...  I admired a little quilt at guild on Friday.  My friend had joined a group at one of the local quilt shops and was going to make a little quilt every month for a year using Jo Morton fabrics.  I was intrigued because the pieces were so tiny.  I went to the first class yesterday.  These aren't really my usual colors or style, but I wanted to see if I could do it...

The little pinwheels are 1" across and the entire piece is about 11"x12".  The trick there was to make bigger pinwheels, starch and press them, and then trim them down to size.   The pieces would be way to little to actually make the pinwheels the proper size.  The inside square is also 1" in the squares in a square quilt and that one is about 13" x 13".  These were fun, though a bit time consuming, to make.  (I know I could have made a bed sized quilt in almost the same time.)  These are just the tops, I'll probably hand quilt to finish them.  I'm going to do a series and hang them together.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hand Work

I've finished hand quilting the 1" diagonal lines and flowers in the Tropical Flowers quilt.  I would like to quilt a couple more lines between each of those diagonal lines and then decide if I want to do diamonds or just diagonal lines.  I'm also hand appliquéing the stems and berries on the be thankful quilt.  I have finished the piecing, the borders, the freehand letters, and the stems in the basket.  I have to do the border appliqué and the buds on the stems.  Slow work, but the Tropical Flowers is turning out well, and the be thankful quilt will be perfect for my bedroom, where it will remind me every day to be thankful.    

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Baskets this week

Wow this photo is funky.  I really don't have a blue light in the florida room...

The acrylic base in this basket is made with one of mom's brazillian agates.  I made 20 of them or so for my basket guild.  I used dyed reed with a continuous weave base and a woven rim.  Everyone's baskets turned out really nicely.
This is a project from a Pat Sloan pattern that was started last weekend at a weekend quilting retreat at a  friend's house.  I took this pattern, a handful of blues, greens, browns and all the light gold/yellow that I had.  It took a fabric store run to get the rest of the background fabrics, but I finished the backgrounds on Friday.  I pieced the baskets and started appliqueing them to the backgrounds on Saturday.  I finished them this week and still need to piece and applique the borders, but I'm getting closer and I think it will look lovely in my bedroom.

I finished the long arming on Easy Street this afternoon too, so will bind tomorrow and take photos this week.  It turned out well and that is good because I want to hang it in my guild quilt show in April.  I have also spent several hours hand quilting this weekend.  The vacuuming did not get time,  hmmm.  Wonder why? 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Easy Street, the Flimsy

Hard to see on my brown flannel board, but the outside is a 5 1/2" black piece.  I literally used every lime, turquoise, and purple scrap that I had in order to piece the middle border.  It's big, 102" x 102", and it will go on the longarm just as soon as it is fixed.  H got another part today, hopefully this one does the trick and I'm back on the machine.

On the other hand, I'm still hand quilting on the tropical flowers.

I need another project, string star or more appliqué?  And I have a basket going too.  More about that later.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Easy Street

What a learning experience!  This is a lousy photo, but Easy Street has been assembled, except the borders.  It was my first Bonnie Hunter mystery.  It was lots of pieces, more than 2000, and looking at the box of 3 1/2" pieces, I thought this one was going to end up in the trash.  But I followed the directions, used a few pins putting the rows together, and it is done and amazingly, pretty much square, though with a few missing points on the geese.  I didn't buy any fabric and really did use lots of scraps of purples, greens, and blues.  I had a few yards of a white fabric with little multi color designs on it, hence the bits of color in the whites.  This being the first time, I followed her color recommendations, except that I used black instead of gray and I'm glad that I did.  I like the black and white four patches.  They really set off the colors and the blocks.  I'm sure there will be a pinstripe of black in the border too.  This will be carefully quilted with an over-all pattern on the long arm.  There are lots of bumpy corners on this quilt.   Thanks to Bonnie Hunter for the free pattern and for the opportunity to watch the progress from quilters all over the world on the Monday link.  It was fun.